I say “our boys” because these could be our sons, our brothers.
This is just how we roll in Israel.
Kol Yisrael Arevim zeh-la-zeh: The People of Israel are responsible for one another.
You can see it in the way we scold random parents for forgetting to put socks on their kids. (“Where are his socks? Where are his shoes? It’s the middle of April and he’ll freeze!”)
You can see it in the way we give soldiers a lift home. (“Here, take a piece of fruit with you. You look hungry.”)
And you can see it in the way that the IDF calls this operation to find these missing children Mivtza Shuvu Achim–Operation Return Brothers (or in English: Operation Brother’s Keeper).
(God, how my heart lurches when I read that. Tell me yours doesn’t.)
All of us are glued to the news: We check our phones every five minutes, our fingers scrolling down our Facebook and Twitter feeds, we click over to Whatsapp groups, we check our SMSs. When the news hour comes on the radio, we turn up the volume instead of switching stations. We ask each other, “Have you heard anything?” “Is there any news?”
There is no news about our boys.
This happens periodically. Kidnappings, bombings, and our neighbors have promised that there will be more.
But this is life when you’re living THIS CLOSE to the edge, where the drop down is deep and dark, but the view is exquisite. This is life in Israel where the peace of this place dances on the head of a pin with the angels.
I click back to Twitter, I scroll down my newsfeed on Facebook. No news.
“Anything?” I message someone.
And meanwhile, my own children are here–my own children who will one day grow up to wear olive green and serve in the IDF, who will be part of future efforts to defend the peace, to defend our people.
In Judaism there’s an expression: When you’re hit with tragedy, when you’re hit with fear, first you cry. Then you question. And then, you laugh. You laugh hard with all your teeth showing, with your head thrown back, with your body reeling.
And so, I close down Twitter and Facebook. And I blast Aerosmith’s “Living on the Edge” on my iPhone. And with a plate of malawah and a bottle of water, the three of us walked out to the fields beneath a setting sun to celebrate the day, that we are here, that we are together.